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September 29, 2008

Dems Seriously Outspending GOP

Money isn't everything. But when you're being outspent by a 57-1 margin, it can sure start to feel that way.

That's the amount by which Democratic groups outspent Republican groups last week, according to independent expenditure data collected by Swing State Project, a progressive blog that follows down-ballot races. Last week, groups spent more than $4.3 million on behalf of Democratic candidates, while Republican candidates benefited from just $75,000 in total spending.

And Democrats aren't just spending on their incumbents, either, as the groups have now targeted 27 Republican-held seats with independent expenditures. That list includes new spending against Arizona Rep. John Shadegg, Florida's Tom Feeney and initial forays into GOP-held seats in Kentucky, Maryland, New Mexico and New York.

Democrats are playing defense in twelve districts, among them some of Republicans' top targets. The party is spending money to protect Pennsylvania Reps. Paul Kanjorski and Chris Carney and Arizona Reps. Harry Mitchell and Gabrielle Giffords, among others. More money has gone to protect New Hampshire Rep. Carol Shea-Porter -- a whopping $631,000 -- than has been spent on any other district in the country.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is responsible for the bulk of money flooding into the races, but groups like Defenders of Wildlife and EMILY's List have contributed advertising to Democratic candidates as well. The National Republican Congressional Committee spent just $26,000 last week on mailings benefiting Pennsylvania Rep. Phil English, but the DCCC dropped $91,000 on a television ad in the same district.

In total, according to Swing State Project's estimates, Democratic groups have spent about $10.5 million on independent expenditures, while Republicans have yet to break the six-figure barrier.

The NRCC has reserved air time in a number of districts, but with limited resources they have to hold their fire until late in the election season. Democratic early spending could pay off, and given the number of Republican-held seats the party is targeting, that could be the difference between a small Democratic pickup and one that more closely resembles the 2006 wave.